Bidders spend $610,000 at Morphy’s well-attended June 1 Antique Advertising Auction

June 17th, 2013 by

Puss in Boots Fortune-Teller fulfills its prophecy of success, sells for $21,000

DENVER, Pa. – A storybook cat with a talent for prognostication leaped to the top of prices realized at Morphy’s June 1st auction of antique advertising and coin-op machines. Made by Roover Brothers sometime between 1897 and 1904, Puss in Boots the Fortune-Teller was encased in a glass, wood and metal penny arcade machine and offered complete with 100 fortune cards. The psychic feline garnered a winning bid of $21,000 and led the day’s lineup of 537 lots, which grossed $610,000. All prices quoted are inclusive of 20% buyer’s premium.

Pace’s “Kitty” slot machine in vibrant primary colors on metal, $7,200. Morphy Auctions image.

Although one of Morphy’s smaller events, the specialty auction drew “a packed house,” said company CEO Dan Morphy. “Advertising signs attracted the lion’s share of bidding,” he added.

There was strong interest in a scarce circa-1910 to 1920 Phoenix Pure Paint curved porcelain corner sign with the image of a Native-American boy holding a hand mirror and applying paint to his face. The colorful sign exceeded its presale estimate and closed at $15,600.

An 8-piece Coca-Cola prototype window display depicting Rip Van Winkle and the Jolly Elves “pausing for refreshment” was bid to $7,800 against an estimate of $3,000-$4,000. In the breweriana section, a 1900-1910 framed poster advertising Lorelei Beer of Helena, Montana, with an image of the fetching mermaid-like maiden of nautical lore, achieved an above-estimate $3,900.

Other signs that finished well in the money included an appealing Eveready Flashlights/Batteries/Mazda Lamps figural flange sign, which doubled its high estimate in realizing $6,000; and a self-framed tin sign advertising Frazer Axle Grease, with a wonderfully detailed image of two horse-drawn wagon drivers discussing a wheel mishap, $4,800. Another standout was a Boston Locomotive Works 4-color chromolithographed builder’s print, dated 1858, with the image of a steam-powered passenger engine. It sold for $4,200.

More than 150 gambling, vending and other coin-operated machines were offered. A Pace’s “Kitty” slot machine in vibrant primary colors on metal reached $7,200; while a beautiful Wurlitzer Model 71 countertop jukebox made the midpoint of its estimate range at $5,400. Manufactured around 1940-1941, the Model 71 in Morphy’s sale played selections correctly and, according to Dan Morphy, “had a great sound.”

Morphy’s next auction featuring antique advertising will be held on August 6th. A General Antiques auction is slated for August 20th, and a major Toys & Sports Memorabilia sale will follow on September 7th. For additional information, contact Morphy Auctions by calling 717-335-3435 or e-mailing Visit Morphy’s online at

Waverly Rare Books to auction Author’s Edition of Muybridge’s 1887 Animal Locomotion on June 20

June 7th, 2013 by

363-lot book auction also includes early maps of Mid-Atlantic states, Texas, Calif., Oregon

FALLS CHURCH, Va. – On June 20th, Waverly Rare Books will auction an extraordinary photographic rarity – an Author’s Edition folio version of Eadweard Muybridge’s (British, 1830-1904) Animal Locomotion: An Electro-Photographic Investigation of Consecutive Phases of Animal Movements.

The Complete Writings of Nathaniel Hawthorne, 23 vols., 1900-1901 with 1902 biography by George E. Woodbury. Est. $1,500-$2,500. Waverly Rare Books image.

Initially published in 1887 as an 11-volume set, Animal Locomotion contained a total of 781 plates. Thirty-seven sets were produced and subsequently purchased by major art institutions, museums and libraries in New York, Boston and Philadelphia.

The Public Edition of Animal Locomotion contained 100 plates and was issued by subscription for $100. “The subscriber would examine one of the complete sets in a public institution, then chose his or her favorites,” explained Waverly Rare Books’ director, Monika Schiavo.

The Author’s Edition, which is the centerpiece of Waverly’s June 20 catalog auction, originally consisted of 21 plates selected by the author or editor from Muybridge’s complete series of animal locomotion plates. Of those 21 plates, one plate (Plate 465) is missing, leaving 20 plates.

“Generally, a single lost plate can reduce a book’s value considerably, but in cases where the book is highly valuable, as is the case with this one, the loss in value is nowhere near as great, as buyers would have few – if any – alternatives,” said Schiavo.

Citing auction comparables of the past, Schiavo noted that an Author’s Edition with 21 plates, personally inscribed by Muybridge, sold at Swann Galleries in March 2010 for $48,000. A copy of a Public Edition with 54 collotype plates sold for $14,900 at Sotheby’s in November 2008. Its condition was a question mark but “likely to be very poor, given the catalog description that said ‘Fragment only – Disbound,’” Schiavo said.

In 2007 an album with 100 plates in faux morocco wraps with some dampstaining, minor handling wear, chipping to edges, and library markings sold for $45,000 – triple its high estimate – at Skinner, while a collection of 50 plates sold at Bloomsbury’s in 2012 for 38,000 pounds (approx. $58,200). Other auction records indicate that some individual plates have sold for as much as $5,000.

Described by the Washington Post’s Frank Van Riper as “The Odd Genius Who Froze Motion,” Eadweard Muybridge was one of the most influential and eccentric photographers of all time. His instantly recognizable work merged the art and science of photography in a series of stop-action film sequences that paved the way for the modern motion picture industry. Muybridge’s prescient images have been collected and exhibited by the Tate Gallery, The Corcoran Gallery of Art and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.

Waverly Rare Books, a division of Quinn’s Auction Galleries, will offer the Eadweard Muybridge Author’s Edition of Animal Locomotion: An Electro-Photographic Investigation of Consecutive Phases of Animal Movements on June 20, with no reserve and a $12,000-$15,000 estimate. The 363-lot auction also includes a Patrick Henry land grant (Lot 339, est. $600-$900), four original, signed James Thurber drawings that appeared in the March 25, 1939 issue of The New Yorker (Lot 338, est. $4,000-$6,000), and a 23-volume set of The Complete Writings of Nathaniel Hawthorne (Lot 12, est. $1,500-$2,500).

Close-up of signature from Nov. 19, 1785 land grant signed by Patrick Henry as governor of Virginia. Est. $600-$900. Waverly Rare Books image.

A selection of important early maps is highlighted by Lot 317, a 1639-1675 engraved map with outstanding early images of Virginia, the Carolinas and Georgia; estimate: $600-$900. Another fascinating entry is Lot 311, a colorful 1846 folding pocket map of Texas, Oregon and California. Its accompanying text booklet is unflattering in its observations of Texas settlers of that time, describing “the female portion of the community [as] ignorant, degraded and the slaves of their husbands.” It also notes that the women are “very fond of dress and will make any sacrifice to gratify it.” As for the men, the writer says they “have no trades and depend for every thing upon the converted Indians, some of whom are quite ingenious, both as carpenters and blacksmiths. The whites…look upon all manual labor as degrading…” The map is in superb condition and is expected to make $4,000-$7,000.

Waverly Rare Books’ June 20 auction will begin at 5 p.m. Eastern time. The preview begins on June 15 and continues through and including auction day (see website for hours). The gallery is closed on Sundays.

All forms of bidding will be available, including absentee or live via the Internet through For information on any lot in the sale, call 703-532-5632 or e-mail Visit Waverly Rare Books online at

View the fully illustrated catalog and sign up to bid absentee or live via the Internet at


February 13th, 2013 by

Florida – After conducting a similar survey last year, the Asheford Institute of Antiques (a distinct learning program on antiques and appraising), has released its latest trending data on the antiques marketplace for 2013. The survey, which is aimed at compiling the purchase trends of customers buying antiques over a twelve month period, was brought back this year after an overwhelming response on the school’s website from readers requesting more information, said Charles Green, Director of the Institute. Green went on to say that he was struck by how the results seemed to resonate with readers, and that pollsters at the Institute decided to run the survey again, with a few tweaks (including doubling the number of participants to over a thousand), to see if there was any measurable change from the previous year. “It just seemed to make sense, since so many of our students and those visiting our website were requesting it,” said Green.

School publications Director, Tony Drew echoed the sentiment and stated that the primary focus of this year’s survey was to again gauge interest in current trends of antiques and collectibles, based on sales and requests for particular items. He stressed that while no stringent scientific formulas were employed, and the survey was informal in nature, the results were still quite interesting when viewed in their entirety. “What we’re seeing is still a basic reflection of last year’s poll…” said Drew, “but on an even more magnified level – younger buyers are definitely becoming the norm, and there seems no doubt that all the television shows out there about antiques and collectibles are having some influence on this demographic.”  Drew went on to say that some areas of “collecting” had moved up or down a notch in the survey, but that one noticeable trend was the move towards smaller collectibles from the 50’s and even 60’s. “Again…” said Drew, “it’s the younger buyers leading the way.”

If you’d like to see the full results from the survey conducted by the Asheford Institute, you can visit their Poll/Survey page at( or on the schools web site at, for a complete listing of surveyed trends for 2013.

For readers seeking more information about the schools antiques and appraisal course, you can contact them at: (877) 444-4508. Or write to them at; the Asheford Institute of Antiques 981 Harbor Blvd., Suite 3, Dept. 275GSV21 Destin, FL 32541-2525, or at their Canadian office at; 131 Bloor Street West, Suite 200, Dept. 124 Toronto, ON M5S 1R8.


December 3rd, 2012 by

Buying antiques and fine art is a very enjoyable experience but can have its pitfalls for both professional dealer and amateur alike.

In this short guide, I hope to be able to give an insight in how many dealers operate in the international market. This is by no means a definitive working practice in every case, and the views presented here are simply personal ones based upon 20 years of experience. Nevertheless, I believe that they have some merit and have served me well over the years.

Firstly, a professional dealer is no different from a private collector or individual when it comes to making a purchase. What many people forget is that dealers are also owners of their stock. They put their money where their mouths are in the hope that they can turn a profit. Sometimes the market is such that they cannot sell an item for many years, or if they do will have to take a loss on their original investment. It happens to every dealer at some stage, but that is the learning curve they, and everyone else for that matter, is on. We are all just fallible after all. This brings us nicely to a set of informal buying stages that I operate by on a typical transaction. So here is the first.

Stage 1

Do you love the item? Forget the investment potential. Forget the price. Forget any selling schpeel or scarcity of the piece. Forget the worry of where you’ll put it at home. Simply, do you like it? How do you respond emotionally to it? Whether you are an individual or dealer, only you can really decide this.

OK, so you’ve fallen in love with a piece. Now what?

Stage 2

Can you afford it? So let’s say that the piece you have chosen has an affordable price tag – and by that I mean on a personal level you will be able to pay for it without mortgaging your home or selling your children! Only you can gauge this, and the same also applies to the dealer. After all, they could be stuck with it for sometime and not be able to free up their working capital.

Stage 3

What price are you prepared to pay? This is where for the most part the dealer has the edge on a private client. It is their specialist knowledge of market prices and current trends, which will assist them greatly in completing a sale, that will in turn be driven by their business margins.

So how can an individual ‘compete’ with a dealer? Well there are many ways, which we’ll touch on later in the article, but here is the main one. Research.

It’s somewhat obvious, but if you are buying anything with a signature, try to research the artist. If the piece is attributed to someone, what is the basis for the seller claiming this? This is also loosely described as provenance – the holy grail of authenticity.

Provenance could include, but not be limited to, anything from a verifiable source of past ownership to documentation proving the substance of the piece. It may also just be a gut feeling for example where an old lady has had something in the family for as long as she can remember. Remember this though, never take anyone’s word for what you are looking. It may be that the seller is simply trying to turn a quick profit and hasn’t dug too deep into an items value in either direction.

Now I’m not advocating a cynical view to buying. For the most part private and trade sellers are honest people simply trying to make a profit and not deceive, but it is amazing how often this lack of research happens. If you don’t believe me, look at the many stories of hugely valuable treasures being discovered at car boot (garage) sales or in auction. Remember the Chinese vase that sold in the UK for in excess of £45m, well that was valued earlier by a dealer at £800. Ooops. You can’t be an expert on everything, so the lesson here, is do your research. You may not get it right every time, but it will pay dividends in the long run.

But where and how I hear you ask? Well you’ll find that the internet is a hugely valuable and free resource for this. There are also subscription based services which will track a particular artist or edition in the salerooms worldwide. See Benezit online (soon to be launched), Artprice etc.

The internet has really changed the way the way in which we shop and consume all sorts of products. For the novice, it is an invaluable tool for researching whether there is a similar item for sale, and at what price, or to simply learn more about the piece you are about to purchase. Within the trade, there are mixed views about this, mostly because this kind of market intelligence was predominantly the domain of the professionals and it is seen as somehow weakening the commercial advantage. I’m of the opinion though that this sea-change of the way we now acquire art it is a good thing, as in the long run it benefits everyone dealing in expensive works of art and raises the reputation and transparency of those bona fide dealers.

Now a word of warning here about using auction salerooms as valuation indicators. An auction price is simply a measure of what someone is prepared to pay for a piece in a competitive environment – nothing more, nothing less. Along with frequency of appearance on the open market, these are broadly how market prices are ‘set’ for an item or artist. Remember Stage 1? That is principally what is at work here and why dealers and private individuals get carried away and sometimes pay beyond their set limit. Then again, that’s the excitement of a ‘room’ – they are environments that provoke tests of nerve, bank balances and many times a large measure of egos thrown in.

If you’ve never been to an auction, then I urge you to go. They are great fun, but if you do happen to see something you want, set your limit and stick to it. A useful trick is to imagine yourself as a big cat hunting on the plains of Africa and your prey is an auction item. Sometimes you’ll give chase and be successful, but more often than not you’ll have to let it go to conserve your energy (read money!) and live to hunt again. If you do get carried away though, don’t worry. We’ve all done it, and at the end of the day you’ll come away with something you love. Right?


Ok, enough of the analogies. You get the picture. Back to the matter in hand. What do you pay? If you are a private client, the answer to that is, what is it worth to you? Assuming that you have done your research, the piece checks out and you love it, what’s the next move. How do you actually negotiate a sale and what do you say and do? Here are my thoughts on this.

The anatomy of a sale:

a.            Now I’m a great advocate of telling a seller that you love the piece. It doesn’t weaken your position. This is a Stage 1 statement and nothing to do with what you will ultimately pay. This doesn’t mean that you’ll not have any bargaining points either; it simply aligns you with the seller on an emotional level. You can even get into a bit of small talk on where they found it and how long they’ve had it etc.

b.            As an opener, ask the dealer what their best price is. If they try to draw you on what you’d be prepared to pay, simply joke with them and tell them that you can’t be both buyer and seller!

c.             If you think that the piece is worth 40% less than they are asking (this is a bit extreme), then tell them that you see it at 50% less than what they are asking (this will give you a bit of a buffer). The principle here is start low and keep it friendly. You can always go up, but never down. Once the seller has regained consciousness (!) they’ll probably tell you to get lost.

d.            At this point you’ll need to reinforce that you love it and you are serious. You can do this by saying ‘look, this artist /sculptor/item recently sold for X amount in auction’. It shows you have done your research. If they haven’t done the same then you’ll have an advantage. If their asking price is close to the last auction room sale, try to average out the previous saleroom performance for the piece/artist. If the seller is insisting that this is the value then you can always say that on the day that’s what someone was prepared to pay and today is another day. Remember to keep it light and friendly. Don’t get ruffled or intimidated by a sellers apparent indignation at your offers.

e.            Ask them where they ‘see it’. They’ll probably drop a bit.

f.             At this point start to focus attention on the item. Is it in perfect condition? Has it been repaired or restored, all of which can affect value. Is there something that you can use to reduce the price e.g. is it a picture which needs reframing or relining? Perhaps it’s a bronze which needs repatinating. Remember to reinforce that ‘you love it but because of XYZ you see it at X price.

g.            It is not uncommon at this stage for a seller to tell you that your offer is lower than what they paid for the item. This may or may not be true, but most dealers will have at least a 20% margin in the piece, so even at this level you’ve got, say, a 10% discount you could negotiate.

h.            Assuming that you are both engaged in the negotiating process (in as much as there have been at least three price movements of at least 5% (of original asking price) and moving closer to a ‘strike price’ you’ll find that at this point the going will probably get tougher.

i.              You can either agree to the sale if you think it’s fair or decide on a more extreme tactic of calling the sellers bluff and walking away. Stand up and say something like. ‘Look, you know I love it, but we’re just too far apart. I can do X amount’. This can provoke them to agree to your price or it may not. If not, walk away. Now you may be willing to pay more and think you may have blown your chances, but you haven’t. So where to now?

j.             Spend some time to think and calm down. Do you still love the item? Can you make the ‘strike price’? What really is your limit?

k.            OK. Final round. You go back to the seller. Say something like ‘Well I’m back. I just can’t forget that picture/sculpture/piece. Look, what is your very, very best on it?’ They may make some final concession which is within your top limit, or they may not budge at all. You’ve probably got only another couple of price moves here at the most.

l.              So now it’s crunch time. You’ll have three options. You agree on your maximum price, agree to pay more, but only if that includes any repairs, shipping, etc (or whatever else you can negotiate), or you walk away (remember the hunting analogy).

So that’s kind of it. Every sale will be different. You will win, but some of the time you will lose.

If you remember to do only one thing, it’s engage with your heart, but negotiate with your head.

You won’t go too far wrong with this strategy. Good luck and happy hunting!

R. Santana / Palladium Fine Art Brokerage

© Copyright 2012

2012 Edition of Journal of Advanced Appraisal Studies Just Released

September 6th, 2012 by

(Chicago, IL) The 2012 edition of Journal of Advanced Appraisal Studies contains nineteen in depth original research articles and topical discussions relating to personal property appraisal. While the Journal is targeted primarily at professional property appraisers, it also contains useful insights and information for anyone associated with the business of personal property such as auction houses, estate lawyers, insurance brokerage houses, museums and cultural property conservators.

According to Michael Conner Ph. D, ISA–AM, the mission of the Foundation is to “promote the advancement of education related to personal property appraising.” The Foundation was formed in 2002 as an independent arm of the International Society of Appraisers. The Foundation raises funds to provide scholarships for continuing studies for both new and veteran appraisers by publishing the Journal

Editor Todd W. Sigety, ISA CAPP comments, “The Journal of Advanced Appraisal Studies is now in its 5th year of publication.  From what started as a simple concept of creating a platform for personal property appraisers and allied professionals to publish scholarly works, reviews, primers, theories and experiences has now grown and matured into the publication of choice for our profession. The Journal has developed into an important tool to assist new and emerging appraiser as well as becoming an incubator for developing new concepts and ideas for experienced appraisers.”

Sigety continues, “The 2012 edition of the Journal contains a wealth of appraisal related content on varied topics such as the 2011 art market, photography skills, report writing, Hedonic appraisal approach, marketing through TV, radio and public appearances, the Asian market, Asian textiles, appraising Judaica, book appraising, wood identification, inspection tools, multi-part antiques, artist archives, fair value, women in 20th century design, fraud on eBay, appraising books, and artist identification. All articles are specifically written and selected for the personal property appraiser.   Appraisers from the three major personal property organizations, ISA, ASA and AAA as well as independent appraisers, allied professionals, and educators have been active supporters and contributors to the journal project.”

The 300 page 2012 edition of the Journal, edited by Todd Sigety, is available for $55 at Previous editions are available for $35 on the same site. For more information visit the Journal’s websites at  and to read an excerpt article and visit the home page of the Foundation at

You can contact the Foundation for Appraisal Education at 201 W Lake St # 214 Chicago IL, 60606, telephone 312 924-1832, email

International Society of Appraisers Announces Fall 2012 Education Schedule

September 5th, 2012 by

[Admin Note: We receive many inquires here at to help our users appraise their antiques. It is almost impossible (and irresponsible) to try and appraise anything via email online. Detecting the objects subtleties, imperfections, weight, smell, texture, you name it requires in person inspection. Therefore for those interested, we have the below offering from the International Society of Appraisers so you can learn the craft for yourself.]

Eight courses are scheduled for October and November including Appraisal of Fine Arts, Core Course in Appraisal Studies, Requalification Course, Advanced Report Writing, Oriental Rugs, Appraisal of Antiques & Residential Contents and the 7 hour and 15 hour Personal Property USPAP Course.

APPRAISAL OF FINE ART – October 15-20, 2012

Emphasizes the primary categories of fine art frequently encountered by appraisers and dealers: paintings, sculpture, works on paper, frames, photography, animation art, Russian icons and Spanish Colonial art. Major areas of focus: art history, looking at art works properly, identifying and researching fine art works, properly describing art works, correctly employing specific vocabulary, and art conservation. A field trip to local museums, such as The Art Institute of Chicago, provides students with close exposure to the property categories being studied.   (Covered by course fee)


This is the “original” complete appraisal methodology course for personal property appraising.  Its thorough scope includes appraisal objectives, intended uses, market identification and analysis, research methods and skills, ethics and professional conduct, and a detailed presentation of report formats and checklists.  This course sets the standards that others imitate.  The encyclopedic manual is in two sections and includes a resource directory of over 200 pages, including computer research sites, useful forms for your appraisal practice, and abridged law cases worthy of mention.  The on-site class is presented in a user friendly manner with many group activities that reinforce written and visual information.  Students learn the techniques of networking and are able to apply their new skills and knowledge in writing complete appraisal reports that are both ISA and USPAP compliant.  Minimal computer skills are required and laptop use in the classroom is encouraged.

REQUALIFICATION COURSE-September28-29(Toronto,Ontario)and October 26-27, 2012

A review and update of ISA’s Appraisal Standards covering significant recent changes including those in the ISA Core Course Manual,  the IRS, and the insurance industry.  The class is a requirement for re-qualification and provides current guidelines, checklists, and forms helpful for every member.   This will ensure that you are developing and writing appraisals to the current standards.    Our text is the current edition of the ISA Core Course Manual and much class time is spent in discussion and group activities.  No exam is given and students are dismissed at the end of the second day.

ADVANCED REPORT WRITING – October 24-25, 2012

This two day class is for all appraisers who are seeking to enhance and advance their report writing skills.  Attention is given to forming persuasive arguments in writing defendable reports.  We also cover complex, multiple value, and broad evidence appraisals and the choices we have in formatting and presentation.  Time will be spent on appraisal software and technology in presenting great looking reports.  Another section will explore appraisal reviews and how to write them.  This will include peer review of two appraisal reports that each student will bring. You will be encouraged and challenged.  The class will give you many ideas and tips that will benefit you no matter how long you’ve been in the profession.  Bring laptop computer.

ORIENTIAL RUGS COURSE – November 9-10, 2012 (Dallas, TX)

Whether they are hand-made or machine-made, appraising rugs is one of the most daunting appraisal specialties.  Winston Churchill’s description of the former Soviet Union, “a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma,” also describes the world of oriental and area rugs.  This course focuses on terminology, components of identification, rug photography, commonly encountered rugs, factors affecting value, comps, and serves as a springboard to self-study.

The class will be held in “The Casbah”, a classroom in a 100 year old oriental rug cleaning plant in Dallas, Texas.  The instructor, Ellen Amirkhan, ISA CAPP, is the president of Oriental Rug Cleaning Co. in Dallas, Texas, a business started by her grandfather in 1911 that specializes in cleaning, repairing, appraising and selling oriental rugs.  An industry instructor for 20 years, she teaches rug schools in the U.S., the UK and Australia and is a co-author of A Comprehensive Guide to Oriental and Specialty Rug Cleaning.


This newly revised course provides information necessary to properly identify and value items falling into the broad category of antiques and residential contents. Focus is on analysis of construction and manufacturing; discerning the difference between “good”, “better”, and “best” quality, design characteristics pertinent to general periods and styles; and research resources for the appraiser. Course sections include furniture, ceramics, glass, silver, toys and dolls, and vintage fashions as well as general household contents. The course includes an off-site field trip covered by the course expense.


The 15-hour Personal Property Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) material is designed to aid appraisers in all areas of appraisal practice seeking competency in the USPAP. This course is intended to fulfill the USPAP requirement for credentialed membership levels within professional personal property appraisal organizations and will be taught by an active Personal Property Appraiser.

This course focuses on the requirements for ethical behavior and competent performance by appraisers that are set forth in the USPAP. The course material emphasizes the role of the appraiser and the impartiality associated with this role. In addition to lectures, the course includes discussion examples that show how USPAP applies to situations that personal property appraisers encounter in everyday practice.

7 HOUR Personal Property USPAP COURSE – November 8, 2012 (Dallas, TX)

This is the required 7 hour update for personal property appraisers seeking to fulfill the 2 year requalification process.  This class covers the 2012-2013 version of USPAP.  The class does not include an exam.  Students must have previously attended the 15 hour National USPAP class.